Syrians Flock to Election Polls to Elect Representatives to Local Administration Councils

Syrians all over the country flocked to elections polls at 7:00 o’clock local time (5:00 am GMT) Monday to elect their representatives to the Local Administration Councils (LAC).

LAC elections, in the framework of the ongoing process of building institutions, promoting democracy and achieving the comprehensive reform process led by President Bashar al-Assad, are in implementation of the new Local Administration Law- Decree No. 107- issued by President Bashar al-Assad last August .

The elections are further a first practical implementation of the legislative law No. 101 for 2011 on for the General Elections Law which constitutes the cornerstone of the organization of the elections of the members of the People’s Assembly and the local councils in Syria.

The elections also guarantee the integrity of the electoral process, the right of the candidates to supervise it and ensure full judicial supervision of the voters on the electoral process and their freedom to exercise their electoral right in free and fair atmospheres.

42889 candidates compete for 17588 seats in 1337 administrative units, including 154 cities, 502 towns and 681 municipalities.

The number of the electoral centers is 9849, two ballot boxes in each, where electors vote for their candidates for the administrative unit, and an election committee consisting of a head and two members supervises the process.

Safar: Local Administration Elections Come within New Mechanism, Allow wide Participation of the Citizens

Prime Minister Dr. Adel Safar participated in the elections of the 10th term of the Local administration Councils at the al-Wehda Establishment for Printing and Publishing electoral center.

In a statement to Press, Dr. Safar said that these elections are held without the lists of National Progressive Front to give the opportunity to all citizens and achieve wide participation.

He added that the elections also come within new mechanism in the light of the Local Administration new law which enhanced the principle of decentralization and gave the citizens bigger freedom in practicing their efficient role in the economic, social and cultural domains at the level of their governorates.

He pointed out that the electors play an important role in drawing the policies of their regions as the election has become “a duty and right of all citizens”.

Premier Safar indicated that the elections come within a new law giving the opportunity to elect freely and in a democratic way through the full supervision of judicial authority on the election process without any interference of the executive authority.

He stressed that the government relies on these elections to bring conscious leaderships who are able to manage the affairs of their regions and governorates.

Safar stressed that these elections constitute genuine opportunity to elect representatives who are able to fulfill the aspirations of the citizens in improving services and developing various regions”.

He added that Syria is witnessing a critical stage and we should unify our efforts to protect our homeland in face of the conspiratorial schemes.

Minister of Local Administration Omar Ghalawanji and Information Minister Adnan Mahmoud also voted at al-Wehda electoral center.

For his part, Minister of Information Adnan Mahmoud said that conducting elections of local administration councils as scheduled in the current stage reflects the Syrian people’s determination to move forward in the political, social and economical reform process to build modern Syria in line with their aspirations despite the events taking place in the country.

Speaker of People’s Assembly Mahmoud al-Abrash, participating in the electoral process, said that the elections constitute an important and essential pillar of the reform and development process, hoping that there will be high percentage of voters.

Assistant Interior Minister for Civil Affairs, Hassan Jalali, said yesterday in a statement to SANA that the electors will be using the identity card for voting, according to Decree No. 125 for 2011 for those who are 18 years of age and above.

Jalali said that the ministry has provided all required equipment to the Local Administration Ministry in order to make the election process a success, providing 7340 ballot boxes and invisible ink, which is used for the first time in the elections to ensure the creditability of the process.

In Damascus Countryside, the number of candidates reached 4138 competing for 1927 seats, and the electoral centers are 703.

The number of candidates in Damascus is 425 competing for 100 seats, while the number of electoral centers is 585.

In Aleppo, the number of candidates reached 7805 competing for 2283 seats. The number of electoral centers is 818 in the city of Aleppo and 1202 in its countryside.

The province’s data indicate that 1286 candidates hold university certificates, MAs and PhDs. In Quneitra Province, 812 candidates, 262 holding university certificates, are running the elections to win 330 seats.

In Hama, 3667 candidates are to compete for 1997 seats, more than 55% of whom are holders of university or intermediate institutes certificates.

In Tartous, the number of candidates are 3107 competing for 950 seats.

In Sweida, 1603 candidates, half of them hold university certificates, are participating through 302 electoral centers to win 645 seats.

In Lattakia, 3440 candidates are participating in the elections through 846 electoral centers.

In Daraa, the number of candidates reached 1873, with 410 electoral centers and 1043 seats.

In Homs, 3500 candidates are running the elections through 611 electoral centers to win the 1496 seats allocated to the province.

In Raqqa, 2500 candidates are to compete for 487 seats through 459 electoral centers.

Deir Ezzor has 3314 candidates, 1362 seats and 599 electoral centers.

Candidates in Idleb are 2468 competing for 1907 seats, and the number of electoral centers is 898.

In Hasaka, elections at 850 electoral centers will decide who, out of 4353 candidates, will occupy the 1742 seats.

His Excellency President Bashar al-Assad on October 5th issued decree No. 391 for 2011 on specifying Monday, December 12th, 2011 as the date to conduct LAC elections. Minister of Local Administration Omar Ibrahim Ghalawanji, in a statement to SANA, underscored that the new Local Administration Law will have positive significant reflections through the election of well-qualified and experienced members who will work on upgrading the service and development situation at the local units.

On August 23, H.E. President al-Assad issued Legislative Decree No. 107 for 2011 on the local administration law.

The law has five goals. The first goal is applying decentralization of authorities and responsibilities and placing them in the hands of the people to achieve democracy, while the second goal is establishing administrative units capable of devising and implementing development plans for local communities efficiently and effectively.

The third goal is boosting financial revenues of administrative locals to enable them to pursue their developmental and services roles, and the fourth goal is improving society at local levels and achieving balance growth and equal opportunities among areas through cooperation among administrative units, while the fifth goal is simplifying procedures for providing services to citizens via establishing services centers.

Minister Ghalawanji described the law as “a quantum leap and “a new framework for the concept of local administration in Syria in line with the progressing reform process as it meets the local and future needs of society.

The new law provided for creating new job positions including that of the governorate secretary general, the city’s director and the town’s director with the aim of finding legal reference at the administrative units and enhancing decentralization, allocating 25 % of the governorate’s budget to establish investment projects to boost the financial revenues of the administrative units in the governorate.

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